An ostomy system or ostomy pouching system is a prosthetic medical appliance that collects wastes from a surgically created diversion in the intestinal or urinary tract. Ostomy pouching systems collect bodily wastes from colostomies, ileostomies, and urostomies.
An ostomy pouching system consists of a bag and a skin barrier. The skin barrier fits over the stoma, which is a part of the bowel sticking out on the belly. A stoma is an opening that allows the internal diversion to push wastes out of the body. The skin barrier adheres to the skin around the stoma. This part of the skin is known as the peristomal skin.
An ostomy pouch may be one-piece or two-piece. The one-piece ostomy pouch combines a skin barrier and the bag to form a single unit. It means that you also have to peel off the skin barrier when removing the ostomy pouch from your abdomen. A two-piece ostomy pouching system, too, comes with a bag and a skin barrier, but those are separable elements in this scenario. This ostomy pouching system allows you to attach the skin barrier first and then snap on the pouch. The Snap-on element allows for a tighter seal between the skin barrier and the pouch.
An ostomy pouching system collects the stomal output, which is in the form of feces or urine, from the stoma. The bag of an ostomy pouch prevents these wastes from falling or soiling your clothes. The skin barrier adheres to the peristomal skin, preventing it from coming in contact with the stomal output. Wearing this appliance allows the wearer to lead an active lifestyle that may include recreational activities and sports.
The purpose of a skin barrier is to separate the ostomy pouch from the internal conduit. These barriers are also known as wafers, flanges, or baseplates. These are manufactured using organic materials, mostly pectin. They are available in different sizes to meet different requirements.
Every skin barrier has an internal opening that matches the size and shape of the stoma of the wearer. A correct-sized opening prevents the contact between the peristomal skin and the stomal output. All skin barriers fall into two categories: pre-cut and cut-to-fit. Pre-cut skin barriers come with premade openings that fit around regular-shaped stomas. Cut-to-fit skin barriers allow wearers to create an opening according to the shape and size of their stomas.
Modern-day skin barriers offer skin adhesion meeting all parameters required in an adhesive.
- Tack and adhesion
- Erosion resistance
- Ease of removal
Most skin barriers come with adhesive borders that provide additional support to the ostomy pouching system. A skin barrier can remain attached to the peristomal skin for several days.
All ostomy pouches fall into two categories: open-end and closed-end. Open-end ostomy pouches come with a re-sealable tail that allows for waste removal from the appliance. Once your ostomy pouch gets full, you can go to the toilet and remove the clip from its tail to drain out wastes from the pouch.
A closed-end ostomy pouch doesn’t have any open end, which means you have to replace the pouch when it is full of wastes.
Both these pouches are available in one-piece and two-piece varieties by convaTec Ostomy supplies.
Daily care routine
Your daily care routine with an ostomy pouch will depend on the type of ostomy you have. For instance, a colostomy usually produces firmer stools, meaning that you may not be able to use a drainable ostomy pouch. The frequency of your stomal output also dictates how you care for your ostomy pouching system.